Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy Fit Year!

Something tells me that nobody will read this until the end, so let’s start with the question: do you have any “fit plans” for 2013?

I have not written much about fitness during the latter part of this year, mostly because there has not been much to write about due to the lack of time to engage in any fitness whatsoever.

The year started well (fitness-wise), after moving to Bratislava it hit a wall and died a sudden death. Fear not, however, I have worked on a plan that I believe is a good one. More about that later.

At the end of spring I started feeling very uncomfortable in my own body. I wasn’t overweight, but there was something that didn’t feel right about it. Again, moving to a foreign country (as well as living on your own) does wonders to your figure. The amount of wine that I have drunk (mind you, a couple of glasses/week) has been compensated by very strange eating habits. Now I’m happy with myself size-wise: I don’t know how much weight I have lost, and it doesn’t really matter, but I’m content with the numbers the measuring tape is giving me. Anyhow, I’m craving for the gym.

So what’s the plan?

Food! Let’s start with the food because it’s so exciting a topic!

  • Increase protein intake and cut back on “bad carbs “ (i.e. chocolate and sugar). this is slightly tough, considering that I very seldom eat red meat and poultry. The options? Fish, soy protein, eggs, dairy and certain legumes. Plus protein shakes (with berries, milk etc, yum!)
  • Cook more. There is a kitchen downstairs. Use it! Smile
  • Proper breakfast. Three cups of coffee don’t count as proper breakfast.

Exercise. Well there is already a plan. A simple one. One that shouldn’t require too much time. 

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Shoulders Cardio Triceps Yoga Legs Rest Running
Back Or Biceps Rest Abs +HIIT Or
Abs + HIIT Something fun* Chest Or Yoga
Abs + HIIT Something fun


HIIT: interval spring: 20-30 minutes
Something fun*: trying some new activity or do some sports that are not strength training
Walk where possible

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Walking Abroad

So. This is what my facebook status read just a moment ago:

“This morning I woke up with a sudden urge to go abroad. So, after the morning coffee, I put on my running shoes and walked to Austria. It is geeky indeed, but there's just something so very cool about being able to walk abroad (even though it's just around the corner!)” A great walk it was, as well.

Click on photos to make them bigger.

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In 2012 life was unexpected to say the least. Yours truly worked in 3 places and embarked on an MSc, finding two passions along the way. She also (randomly) moved to Slovakia, after spending most of the year travelling to Sweden, Finland, Spain and Hungary. She didn’t read quite as much as she would have liked to. Some of the gems that made it to her (non-existent) beside-table, however, are Dance, Dance, Dance and 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, as well as The Great Gatsby (finally!) and works by Platonov and Kapuscinski. A 5+-year relationship ended, or more precisely, it transformed into a great friendship. At the end of the year a lot of her thoughts were doubting and melancholic in nature. Everything that wasn’t dealt with in the past couple of years is bubbling under the surface, and at moments those thoughts are really painful.


Spring 2012 in Mariehamn

Fortunately those thoughts have been accompanied with the knowledge that laughter conquers all. The people we meet, the stories we hear, the memories we create are the things to cherish in life. And as if that’s not enough, there are all those other activities, ideas and interests that can be pursued. Pondering about Marxism, laws and policies, travelling, boys, wine, laughing, social injustice, words, raw food, languages, time management (or the lack thereof), working out… and the list goes on.


Summer 2012 in Helsinki

2012 was also the year she became a coffee addict.


Autumn 2012: drinking coffee in Budapest

In the past few weeks I’ve been feeling a certain mix of anxiety and tranquility – it feels like the calm before the storm: there’s the knowledge that something will happen soon, something big. I don’t know what it is or where it will lead me, but rarely has my intuition been this strong.  Maybe that’s the best way to start a new year? With endless excitement?

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Life List: 1, 22 & 25

In 2012, I took a few steps towards completing my life list.


#1 on the list is to visit all European capitals. This year, three new capitals were added to that list.


Budapest in March and November


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Vienna in October and November

The following capitals can be checked off the list: Helsinki, Stockholm, Oslo, Tallinn, Riga, Moscow, London, Madrid, Vienna, Bratislava, Warsaw, Budapest and Athens. However, they are all lovely places, so I wouldn’t mind visiting again. At the moment there are some fuzzy plans for visits to at least Budapest and Vienna.


#22: Fix my nails OR have my nails fixed



#25: Grow my own herbs



One of my favourite grains is bulgur, and I was so happy to find it in a health shop the other day.
One of the advantages of bulgur is its versatility, you can mix it with almost anything – veggies, fish, legumes, meat – you name it. I like my bulgur with cheese (feta or mozzarella) and fish (salmon or tuna) + a lot of spices and seasoning.

The other advantage of bulgur is the relatively high content of protein, fibre and minerals.
I was so excited about the whole bulgur business that I decided to make a highly satisfying Christmas meal of it!

  • Boiled bulgur (some olive oil added)
  • 1/4 avocado
  • Feta cheese
  • Smoked salmon
  • Garlic
  • Grounded pepper
  • Pomegranate seeds

Merry Christmas!


Saturday, 22 December 2012

You Say Bratislava, I Say…


  • Cosy and charming. It is a little worn down in the edges. The traffic lights don’t work, the buses are from the 70s. At the same time, there is so much that is new and shiny.
  • Grey. The winter is grey. There is a certain greyness to the city.
  • Windy. It’s always windy.
  • Great people. Some of the greatest people I’ve ever met, I’ve met here.
  • Sports. Everyone seems to be doing sports and ice-hockey is one of biggest sports, now. We like that.
  • Crazy working hours. When I flew to Austria, I read an article about starting business in Slovakia. Apparently Slovaks are the most cost-efficient workers in CEE. You know what that means, right?
  • Wine and cheese. Slovaks know all about wine and cheese. For someone so into these particular products, Bratislava is heaven.

“Sjung en sång utan ord om ljusa nätter, sjung för mig igen, du lät som snöfall…”*

Sing a song without words about light nights, sing to me again, you sounded like snowfall.

Holiday! 5 days off. Yesterday after work a good friend took me to the Christmas market for some wine, after which we went to a friend’s place. He showed us photos from San Francisco and talked about America. I felt like going on a road trip.

Wanderlust, this is what you are. Endless butterflies clapping their wings, making you grasp for air and wanting to see the entire world while laughing and listening to lullabies.


Det är så många här som aldrig sagt nej
Och som aldrig kommer få en chans
Så många här som aldrig såg mig
Och jag vet att jag haft tur som få*


There are so many here, who never said no

And who’ll never get a chance

So many here who never saw me

And I know I’ve had more luck than most



* Kent - Det Finns Inga Ord

Album: Röd
Lyrics: Joakim Berg
Music: Joakim Berg / Martin Sköld

Sunday, 16 December 2012

The Quote

“The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”
― T.H. White, The Once and Future King


I’m not so very sad at the moment, but I believe this quote is still applicable. Is there any better feeling than when you have learnt something new and fascinating about the world?

One of the things that is so completely turning me on right now is my uni work. Crazy? Maybe. But all that thinking, analysing, pondering – it does do me good. It’s part of the process to finding inner peace. Another fun thing – as you might have noticed here on the blog – is the learning Slovak by doing. Translating. It’s so much fun! I still don’t speak the language, but it’s rewarding to see how well I actually understand it. *Patting myself on the head*.

The Good Man

Dobrý človek

Celú noc nespal. Pre bolesť. Nie však v srdci.
V ňom vždycky horel plameň nehynúci,
pahreba lásky, čistý ľudský zrak.
Za také dary letíš hoci nad oblak,
za také dary tvoje srdce rastie
a rozhadzuje svetom najprostejšie šťastie,
láskavý tlkot, najvrúcejší cit,
ten, ktorý nevie ani napalm spopolniť.
Celú noc nespí. Na všetkých myslí ľudí,
ktorých už bolesť nikdy neprebudí,
budú rásť pod slnkom, čo nikdy nehasne,
a šepoce si: To bude úžasné...

- Vladimír Reisel, Milovaní milujúci, 1954


The Good Man

He didn’t sleep all night. Because of pain. But not in the heart.
In it the never-ending flame was always burning,
the ember of love, the pure human vision.
For such gifts one flies above the clouds,
for such gifts one’s heart will glow
and scatter the world with the simplest happiness,
the gentle beat, the most ardent feeling,
the one that not even napalm can cremate.
All night he doesn’t sleep. He thinks of all those people,
whom pain has never awaken,
who will grow under the sun, that will never go out,
and he whispers to himself: it will be wonderful…
- Vladimír Reisel, Milovaní milujúci, 1954

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Life On Hold OR Wonderful Saturday

Saturday. Noon. Taking it slowly. The skies are grey, Thåström sings and the neighbour is snoring.

Reading poems in Slovak, attempting to translate them. Just remember how much fun translating can be.

It’s raining. It’s Christmas in less than two weeks. The year is almost over. I’ve promised myself not to think of anything or anyone during these last weeks of the year. Now I’ll just be and let my mind rest Smile It’s all about starting the new year with a clear mind and all that.

By the way.When I was back in Finland, I found the nicest notebook, isn’t it cute?


Byť (SK: To Be)



Byť ako strom, a nie ako trstina,

čo sa už pod vánkom zohýna.

Žiť ako strom, z ktorého robia

stožiare i hračky.

Žiť ako strom a umrieť postojačky.

To človek vydá, čo je v ňom.

Teda aj padnúť ako strom.

A potom, keď už zotlie celý,

byť práchnom, ktoré krotí včely

a núti ich tvoriť nie jed,

ale predovšetkým med.

Milan Ferko - z rukopisu, 1999



To be

To be like tree, and not like a reed,

which already bends under the breeze.

To live like a tree, of which

masts and toys are made.

To live like a tree and die while standing.

Man gives away what's inside him.

So he falls like a tree, too.

And then, when it's all rotten,

to be tinder, that tames the bees

and forces them to make not poison,

but above all honey.


Milan Ferko – from manuscripts, 1999 [translastion my own]

Sunday, 9 December 2012

And What Kind Of A World Do You Want To Live In?

A few weeks back I felt a sudden urge to go back home, back to Finland. Only for a few days and to collect my thoughts. It’s easy to fall into a rut, into certain paths of thinking – this was an attempt to shake my thoughts a little, to make my head go bang and boom.

I’ve been turning the pages in books: cookbooks, literature, philosophical ramblings. I’ve been lying on my spikmatta*. I’ve been listening to people.

At the end of the day, my collecting of thoughts have led me to greatest question of them all: what kind of a world do I want to live in? How can I contribute to that world? And how do I want to live my life?

Of course, the answer – when it’s found – is clear. To live in a way that guarantees my own wellbeing while contributing to some kind of greater good. I have a certain view of how society and the world should look like - for me it’s obvious, evident – and for me that is exactly what constitutes the greater good.

*This is a spikmatta:


Thursday, 6 December 2012

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.” ― Roald Dahl

One of the most quintessential questions for me, ever since I was a child, is where is home?Today. when I stepped out of the plane and entered the airport of Stockholm. a warm feeling of familiarity and homeliness filled me. And I realized – my home will never be restricted and limited to one place. How could it if I, at the age of two and with great determination, decided to go and conquer the world? This kind of a life is complicated, building long-lasting conventional relationships of friendship and maybe something else is almost impossible. At the same time life is full of encounters with kind, interesting and clever people. And if this restlessness is inside you, then a life without going, seeing and conquering feels like a cage, and you are the bird longing for freedom but never being able to fly away.


Right Now

Place: Vienna Airport

Thought 1: is there anything better than tuna and eggs? It would be cappuccino.

Thought 2: hopefully Stockholm has recovered from yesterday’s snowstorm. I’d very much not like to get stuck there.

Music: something classic. Isn’t that awfully Austrian?

Feeling: surprisingly energetic – considering this is the 2nd night this week I sleep for 2 – 3hours.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012


Maybe the Finnish word for December, joulukuu, describes it the best. It’s the month of Christmas.

Today I felt like crying even though the sour cabbage soup was delicious and I was surrounded by smiling, friendly faces. I was so tired I just wanted to put my head down on someone’s shoulder and forget about the world. I listened to the boys who were joking about everything from go carts to pizza. And the fitness guy who only eats protein. And the northern girl who was so excited about the snow covering Bratislava. Suddenly I felt so old. 

Then my friend took me for tea and we talked about group dynamics and wine and energies and escaping Slovakia for Christmas. I don’t know if it was the tea or the company or both, but I did feel better after that short while in the kitchen.

And I’m silently thinking of challenging myself. Asking myself to do that little gesture, to give away a little bit of myself. Mulling over this while listening to melancholic Finnish music really isn’t the best of combinations.